If you don't mind crowds, but like good snorkeling, check out Kahulu'u Beach Park approximately 3-4 miles south of Kailua-Kona Town Center. There are many types of beautiful fish and the clarity of the water is like an aquarium. If you are a strong swimmer, swim out past the reef break and swim parallel to the shore. Nobody swims out there and there is beautiful coral and fish and the depth is only around 10-15 feet. Very safe and good snorkeling. Best way to swim out and back of the bay is right in front of the small church. Just don't swim in the way of the surfers (small surf where surf schools teach new students)
The beach is usually full of people since its one of a few beaches on the Kona side, but it's worth it for the snorkeling.
This snorkeling spot has lots of beautiful coral just off the rocky ledge by the boat ramp. You'll probably see turtles, as well as plenty of colorful fish.
From the shore and the water you look to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. It is worthwhile to visit the park also - for historical interest plus the scenery.
Snorkelling at Kohaluu beach. The water and beach are great there and so is the variety of colorful fish. It's also a great place to see turtles.
A real beach. Not too common on the island of Hawaii (except in the Kohala region north of Kona).
Kona's easy access snorkeling spot at Kahalu'u Beach Park has been damaged from over use and misuse of tourists. The University has asked the snorkel gear rental companies to tell people not to go here, and there is good reason for it. At Snorkel Bob's they told us about this request/warning. We stopped by to take a look, and were dismayed to see a rental place right at the park, with a lot of people out in the water, walking(!) right on the coral and trying to touch the turtles. Contact with coral damages or kills it, and unfortunately this seems still to be occuring.
If you want to snorkel in Hawaii or anywhere, of course do so. But I'd recommend following the request of the University and avoid this damaged location, follow good practices and snorkel elsewhere.
This is the perfect place to do water sports....from kayaking to diving, to parasailing it is 350 days of beutiful sun all year arroun.
diving with the mantas, swining with the dolhing or just wheal watching
A great little cove across from the ever-so-famous Captain Cook Cove and diving hotspot on the Kona coast, Big Island, Hawaii. It is located roughly 12 miles south of Kailua-Kona. The area was settled over a thousand years ago so is dotted with ancient temples, archaeological and historical sites serving as a historical district and marine life conservation district. This little park is a great set-in for doing kayaking, scuba diving, and some deeper water reef snorkeling as well as swimming with dolphins. While the dolphins weren't out when we were snorkeling on this 8th of August in 2009, I've heard that it is a popular place to chance the encounters. The parking lot is small and parking is not so easily obtained, but its secluded. There is a small park with picnic tables, restrooms, and a place to relax, with a decent beach and the reefs to explore. Spinner Dolphins are the most common swimmers in the area as they come to the area to rest, feed, and nurse. About 180 acres around the bay is designated as a State Historic Park (1967) and is part of the National Register. The area has a very intriguing history, focusing on the Hikiau Heiau Luakini Temple at the south end of the bay with its burial grounds, the Pali Kapu O Keoua (forbidden cliffs of Keoua) and its associated burials, the village of Ka'awaloa (north end of the bay) where Puhina O Lono Heiau was built with royal residences, and the Kava plant. The name of the Bay comes from "Ke ala ke kua" meaning "The God's Pathway". The first European visitors in the area was in 1779 via Captain James Cook and his ships the Resolution and Discovery in January. Later that month he performed the first Christian service on the islands for a crew member that had passed. He was welcomed during January, but his return in February saw conflict. A skirmish took place where Cook was struck in the head and stabbed - leading to his death. Many battles ensued in the area through the years. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
We rented our kayaks at Kona Boys. They were very helpful and gave us great tips on where to kayak and where to stop and snorkel. The snorkeling at Cook's monument was amazing, with so many colorful fish and lots of turtles!
We had the best experience scuba diving with Pacific Rim Divers. They are family owned and operated and only take out a small group of divers. Patrice was a great underwater guide and made excellent brownies for us to snack on inbetween dives. We highly recommend Pacific Rim Divers.
We took Body Glove's Deluxe Snorkel and Dolphin Morning Adventure. The cruise is aboard Body Glove's boat, Kanoa II. The boat has 2 levels, both with shaded and unshaded areas. The bottom level had open fresh-water showers, bathrooms, a buffet serving area, bar, and sit-down tables. The bow of the boat was uncovered and had a few tall cocktail-style tables (no chairs) and seating around the front of the boat. The top level had benches all around the perimeter and long beaches in the middle that were covered. It also had a high dive platform and water slide. As far as amenities go, you cannot ask for more on a snorkel cruise!
The continental breakfast buffet was already being served when we got onboard. It included pastries, bagels, fruit, hot tea, and coffee. All of the covered seating was already taken so we ate at the tall cocktail tables at the bow of the boat, as the boat pulled away from the pier and we were on our way to Pawai Bay. According to “Hawaii the Big Island Revealed”, the boat fits 130 passengers but it seemed like there were about 50 people or less on our excursion. It was not crowded at all.
As we sailed away from Kona, there were spinner dolphins along the side of our boat. I missed this sighting because I was using the restroom but we would see more on the way back. I think it took about an hour to get to our snorkel site and near the end of that hour, I started to feel sick. I get motion sickness fairly easy so whenever we cruise, I take Bonine every morning. I took a ginger pill right away but still felt queasy. I was hoping I would feel better once we arrived at the snorkel site but the boat continued to rock after being anchored. At one point, I saw a woman acting strangely and Chris told me to look away but it was too late. I watched in horror as she barfed into a trash can, which then triggered a need for me to vomit as well. Luckily, I looked away, thought of something else, and held it down. I wasn’t sure if getting into the water would help or hurt my motion sickness but I wasn’t getting any relief on the rocky boat so I might as well get into the water.
I brought my own mask and snorkel. A crew member helped me try on different fins until I found a pair the fit comfortably and another crew member help me get fitted in a life jacket. It’s optional to wear a life jacket but almost everyone I saw wore on. Keeping yourself afloat just gets tiring. I cannot say enough about how wonderful this crew was. Since Chris didn’t go into the water, he was able to observe the staff. He said they were always watching the water for distress and one crew member accompanied someone the entire time in the water because they were uncomfortable going by themselves. Someone was always at the ladders to help you in and out of the water. When girl who jumped off the high dive reported seeing a jellyfish, crew members immediately went to check it out and make sure it was a safe distance away from swimmers. The crew was extremely friendly and safety was obviously their top priority. The crew absolutely gets an A++++ from me. They also had a lot of equipment. In addition to masks, snorkels, fins in all sizes, and life vests, they had prescription masks, noodles, and 2 rafts. They also gave everyone a chance to try SNUBA, which is like scuba diving but the air tank floats on the surface, for an additional fee.
I entered the water in my snorkel gear, wearing a life vest, and using 2 noodles. I snorkeled in the bay near the back of the boat. The water was very blue and clear. This was my only snorkeling experience in Hawaii so I have nothing to compare it to but you weren’t SURROUNDED by fish, like I saw in photos when I googled “Pawai Bay”. The reef was very deep and so you see the fish from up above them. The fish looked small to me but it might be because the reef was so deep and they were hanging out close to it. There seemed to be a good number of fish but not TONS. I used my new Fujifilm Finepix XP10 waterproof camera. In the photos, you see a lot of reef and you can point out the couple of fish in each photo. Despite not having a ton of fish to look at, the reef itself was beautiful. Seeing it with your own eyes in person is truly a wonderful experience. What I think I enjoyed more than seeing the fish was just bobbing in the water and looking around the bay. It was very pretty and there is just something about being in the water, where you’re literally in the middle of all the beauty. I snorkeled for about 30 minutes before getting back onboard to rest.
When I got back onboard, I started to feel motion sick again with the boat rocking and realized it was better in the water. However, I was still tired. Chris got me a ginger ale from the bar. The bartender makes a wonderful ginger ale with real ginger capsules and it tasted it great! The lunch buffet was being served. It consisted of bread, lunch meats, sandwich fixings, fruit, and Maui-style potato chips. Obviously, I felt more like barfing than eating so I made myself a plate and then asked the bartender to store it so I could eat it later. (The crew advises you to do this so that they can pack up the buffet on time and you can eat your lunch when you feel like it or take if off the boat too.) I laid down on the benches for a little bit and that helped with the queasiness. They made an announcement that we only had 20 more minutes of water time so if we wanted to go back in, we should do so now so I did. This time I swam between the starboard side of the boat and the rocky coast. The rocks made the reef less deep but it seemed like the same amount of fish that I saw before. I came back to the boat after about 15 minutes. By then, my lips were BURNING from the salt water, which I don’t recall experiencing in previous snorkeling trips I’ve done in the Caribbean.
Once back onboard, Chris and I hung out again on the second level. We got to see a spouting whale off in the distance! I started feeling sick again so I laid down again and even dozed off for a little bit. When I got up, the boat was already on the way back to Kona. I felt better so I ate my sandwich and then watched us sail back to Kona. It was so nice to have the wind blowing in my face and smell the salty air. I made sure I wasn’t in the bathroom as we approached Kona so I didn’t miss the spinner dolphins this time!! There were probably 4 of them swimming when suddenly, one would jump out of the water spinning!! Then another would do the same thing! It was so thrilling and amazing to see!! We pulled into the Kona pier and disembarked.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this excursion to anyone looking for a safe, convenient snorkel trip with a top-notch crew. For the most part, everything about Body Glove was wonderful: the crew, the food, the equipment, the boat, the convenience of not having to get your own tender, boarding location, etc. The only thing I was disappointed about was the lack of fish at Pawai Bay. I’m not sure if it was because of the time of year since on Google, it seems like other people saw lots of fish there, but I still had a good experience nonetheless! Just be aware if you get motion sickness that the boat gets rocky. After this excursion, I may have to talk to my doctor about getting one of those motion sickness patches.
Fishies everywhere!!! Yellow, silver, bright pink, everything!!! Plus, Green Sea Turtles, rays, and evil EELS! Yes, eels are evil. It is a scientific fact. So there.
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